The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
What appears to have been a well-intentioned effort to encourage students in a suburban Los Angeles high school to critically think about history has instead provoked outrage in the community for inadvertently lending credence to Holocaust denial, forcing the district and the school to issue apologies with promises to halt the assignment.
The research and writing project, assigned in April for eighth-graders at Rialto Unified School District, read:
When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim.
Last week, officials from the Los Angeles offices of the Anti-Defamation League contacted the district to voice their concern and displeasure over the assignment.
“An exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust denial,” wrote Matthew Friedman, the ADL’s associate regional director. “It is also very dangerous to ask junior high school students to question the reality of the Holocaust on their own, given the sheer volume of denial websites out there.
“If these questions do come up, it’s better to show the huge preponderance of evidence that’s out there (testimony, documentation, death camp sites, archaeology, etc.) and to also question why people would question the reality of the Holocaust (many motivated not by historical curiosity, but by anti-Semitism). Also, who are the people questioning the Holocaust and what do real historians say? This is more of an issue of teaching good information literacy.”
State Sen. Norma Torres, who represents the district, chimed in, declaring: ““Giving school children an assignment that asks them to question whether the holocaust occurred is inappropriate. These actions are insensitive to the millions who lost loved ones and to the many people around the world who have no tolerance for discrimination and genocide.” ( continue to full post… )
For decades, iconoclastic Seattle artist Charles Krafft has made references to Nazis in his highly acclaimed, sometimes shocking pieces of art that most critics and art lovers brand as simple, ironic satire pushing the boundaries.
He crafted a ceramic Hitler-bust teapot now in a San Francisco art museum, and put swastikas on other pieces of art, even on a ceramic wedding cake. He made a ceramic Uzi assault rifle, hand grenades and an “assassin’s kit” – a gun and dagger.
Now, the 65-year-old hippie-turned-artist is at the center of a growing controversy following a published report detailing evidence — including his own words — that suggests he is a white nationalist who believes the Holocaust is a myth. ( continue to full post… )
The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), a schismatic “radical traditionalist” Catholic group that broke with the Vatican over the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), has ejected from its ranks a bishop whose outspoken Holocaust denial has long been source of embarrassment for both SSPX and Rome. ( continue to full post… )
Update: Hatewatch has received a response from Roy Beck, who says the groups that appeared as state and local contacts on the NumbersUSA website are not endorsed by or affiliated with his organization. His complete response is included below the post.
Roy Beck, head of the immigration-restriction group NumbersUSA, has devoted a lot of energy to showing that his organization’s mission of curbing immigrant numbers is motivated not by racism but by economic and environmental concerns.
Every page of the group’s website includes a prominent link to an essay by Beck titled “’No’ to Immigrant Bashing,” which begins, “The task before the nation in setting a fair level of immigration is not about race or some vision of a homogeneous white America; it is about protecting and enhancing the United States’ unique experiment in democracy for all Americans, including recent immigrants, regardless of their particular ethnicity.”
Presumably, an organization taking such a stance against racism and white nationalism would also oppose similar strains of hate.
Yet as the Center for New Community pointed out yesterday, NumbersUSA lists on its website the contact information for notorious Holocaust denier Jim Rizoli of Framingham, Mass., and his unapologetically immigrant-bashing hate group, Concerned Citizens and Friends of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement (CCFIILE), among the “local immigration-reduction groups” that new members interested in linking in with like-minded activists in their areas should reach out to. ( continue to full post… )
David Irving is no historian, as his official biography would have the world believe. The reality is that he a propagandist who has probably done as much as anyone to promote Holocaust denial and to lionize Adolf Hitler, who Irving once said was “not at all anti-Semitic by the time the war began.”
In recent months, Irving has been on a whistle-stop tour of the United States giving a lecture titled, “The Life and Death of Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s lieutenant/44 years in 44 minutes.” The talks and their venues have not been publicly advertised – a ploy Irving has used repeatedly to avoid an unwelcome presence of protesting anti-racists. But Hatewatch has learned Irving will speak at 7 p.m. tonight at The Museum at Central School in Kalispell, Mont.
Museum officials said they do not support Irving’s message, but their lawyers had advised them they were constitutionally prohibited from discriminating against Irving’s talk based on his viewpoint, no matter how distasteful it may be. “You can’t refuse somebody the ability to use a public space based on ideological content,” said Gil Jordan, the museum’s executive director. ( continue to full post… )
You probably thought you knew a thing or two about Auschwitz: It was a nightmarish Nazi extermination camp in Poland where more than 1 million people were murdered, most of them gassed to death with Zyklon-B and then cremated. Dr. Josef Mengele performed horrible medical experiments on live humans there, including twins and those with blue eyes. At the end, as the Soviets closed in, the SS guards murdered thousands more as they marched starving survivors west.
But Carolyn Yeager wants to set the record straight.
The aim of the thoughtful Germans who ran the place actually was “reform, re-education and rehabilitation.” Inmates were taught trades there. Townspeople in the surrounding area saw life at Auschwitz as “luxurious,” what with the inmates’ “attractive red-brick sleeping quarters,” complete with “bunk beds with mattresses … flush toilets, porcelain-covered stoves for cozy heating, and double-paned casement windows.” The paths were “tree-lined,” there were flowers planted before every barracks, and the Nazis regularly showed movies to the inmates.
Yes, Auschwitz had an art museum, a library, regular concerts and sporting events, a “theater for music and drama,” a swimming pool (sometimes used for water polo) and a brothel for lonely inmates — all round, as Yeager writes, “a flourishing cultural life.” It also had two fine post offices because “the Geneva Convention rules, strictly followed by the Germans, ensured the sending and receiving of mail by all prisoners.” Why, the kindly Nazis even provided special pre-printed cards and letter forms! And their health care system was world class — after all, for the Nazis, “the health of the labor force was a prime concern.”
This, at least, is the view of Carolyn Yeager, a woman of leaden stupidity who took a walking tour of Auschwitz last year and decided that the accounts of thousands of victims, perpetrators, camp liberators and Nazi officials including Auschwitz’s most infamous commandant were all hogwash — a transparent ploy by post-war propagandists to say ugly things about caring Germans. ( continue to full post… )
Longtime Hitler enthusiast and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel was released from a German prison on Monday after serving five years for the crime of inciting racial hatred. Zundel, who turns 71 next month, said he would be heading to his home in the Black Forest to regain his health. “It’s kind of a sad situation,” he told The Associated Press as a small group of supporters greeted him outside a Mannheim prison.
Thus ends a long legal saga that began in 1977 when the German-born Zundel founded a small publishing house in Canada called Samisdat Publishers. He published books such as The Hitler We Loved and Why (which he co-authored under a pseudonym) and Did Six Million Really Die? and distributed Nazi and neo-Nazi posters, audiotapes and other items. Among the countries where Zundel sent his offerings was Germany, which has laws prohibiting Holocaust denial and dissemination of Nazi and neo-Nazi material.
It also was during the 1970s that Zundel was spokesman for Concerned Parents of German Descent, a group that contended that German Canadians and their children were discriminated against by anti-German stereotyping. Zundel even issued press releases protesting NBC’s “Holocaust” miniseries for its portrayal of Germans. And yet Toronto Sun columnist Mark Bonokoski reported that Zundel’s maternal grandparents were Jewish. Bonokoski also wrote that one of Zundel’s ex-wives told him that Zundel was concerned enough about his lineage that he returned to Germany in the 1960s in search of his family’s Nazi-era certificate of pure Aryan blood, but could find no such document. ( continue to full post… )
So secretive is Holocaust denier David Irving that he often doesn’t reveal the locations of his lectures until hours before they’re scheduled to begin — and even then, he only tells vetted guests. It must have been a blow, therefore, when his private E-mails appeared on the Internet, courtesy of self-described anti-fascist hackers.
The E-mails, along with the username and password for Irving’s website and AOL E-mail account, were posted last week on WikiLeaks, a website that publishes leaked documents. The messages reveal that it’s not only anti-racists who clash with the long-winded Hitler apologist: Irving’s own assistant, a young blonde woman named Jaenelle Antas, berated him repeatedly for his churlishness.
In a Nov. 7 E-mail, for instance, Antas wrote that Irving recently had been “snotty, rude, and disrespectful toward me.” She also said she was thinking about quitting. “I don’t care if you are frustrated, angry, stressed out, tired, or whatever — treating anybody like the way you have been treating me is unacceptable,” she wrote. “I bend over backwards to help you out on this tour, doing jobs that last year you would have done yourself, and not just making bookings, but also doing things like driving, helping you secure funds to reprint books and locating second-hand books. The only thanks I usually get are long whines about how something isn’t exactly perfect. Why would anyone in the world want to work with or even be friends with someone who is acting the way you have been acting lately? You like to say you treat me better than anyone else does, but the truth is, lately you have treated me worse than anyone else ever has. It hurts my feelings, it makes me angry and resentful, and it makes me question whether or not I should be doing this job anymore.”
Antas was responding to earlier E-mails from Irving in which he accused her of neglecting her responsibilities and “knee-jerk retorting.” “As for your more unhelpful and hostile messages: ‘Get over it,’” Irving wrote on Nov. 7. “I have been working since 6 a.m. this morning trying to catch up and plug holes you have left, e.g., by not bothering to inform me the Sala Thai no longer exists.”
But Irving appears to have gotten over this negligence. In subsequent E-mails, he tries to make it up to Antas with some not-so-subtle sweet talk. “Darling J, you are so efficient and beautiful,” he wrote on Nov. 13. “Please work your magic on (a) attached list [of prospective attendees at his New Jersey talk] and (b) me.”
According to her Myspace page, Antas is a 24-year-old college graduate from Minnesota with a passion for singing. She also appears to have a passion for posting on Stormfront, the leading white supremacist forum. As Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times noted on his blog, Antas likely comments there under the name “Tristania.” The photos Tristania posts are of Antas, and in September, Tristania posted the schedule for Irving’s U.S. speaking tour this fall. Tristania has posted more than 4,000 times since joining Stormfront in 2005.
Also published on WikiLeaks are lists of people who ordered tickets to Irving’s talks in Philadelphia, New York City and New Jersey, along with their addresses, phone numbers, and E-mails. People who might not be friendly to Irving, including those believed to be Jewish, are flagged with the German word “Achtung” (attention). “ACHTUNG is quarter-Jewish” appears below one listing. ( continue to full post… )
In what may be the latest sign of simmering tensions in Florida between two prominent racist skinhead groups, two men suffered knife wounds this week during a speech by Holocaust denying historian David Irving at a luxury Palm Beach County hotel.
Irving spoke to about three dozen invited guests in a conference room he booked at the Ritz-Carlton hotel south of Palm Beach. During his talk on “decoding the Nazi message,” two men, Christopher Nachtman and John Kopko, stepped outside to argue and one of them pulled a knife, police say. A fight ensued. Furniture was broken and a carpet was bloodied. Both men were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment of knife wounds. No charges have been filed yet.
Irving is a longtime Holocaust revisionist. In 2000, he sued Emory University professor and Holocaust expert Deborah Lipstadt for libel in his homeland of Britain, after she accused of him of deliberate falsification. A London court declared Irving a pro-Nazi anti-Semite and “active Holocaust denier” and ordered him to pay all court costs. In 2006, he was imprisoned in Austria after pleading guilty to telling audiences that there were no gas chambers in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. Irving subsequently backed off those claims. Earlier this year, he set up a website selling Nazi memorabilia. His visit to South Florida was the latest on a surreptitious speaking tour in the United States, in which Irving informs attendees of his venue at the last minute so as to thwart protestors.
On Wednesday, the Vatican made a dramatic move to tamp down growing worldwide furor over its late January decision to revoke the excommunication of Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) Bishop Richard Williamson, who has a 20 year track record of vocal Holocaust denial.
What the Vatican has not yet addressed is SSPX’s clear record of anti-Semitism. The SSPX as a whole, which has chapels and schools across the United States and in several other countries, is a font of anti-Semitic propaganda. It is in The Angelus, published monthly by the SSPX, and on SSPX’s website, that the radical anti-Semitism of the order is most evident. One example now on the website is an Angelus article by two SSPX priests that calls for locking Jews into ghettoes because “Jews are known to kill Christians.” Further examples of the group’s anti-Semitism can be found here.